What is Power of Choice?
Power of Choice is about giving you more information and control over the way in which you use and manage your electricity, through smart meters. With a smart meter and the information in My Account, you get more insights to your usage and there’ll be no need for someone to come to your premises to read your meter.
Where and when did Power of Choice start?
Power of Choice are new national electricity metering reforms that started on 1 December 2017. Under these reforms, smart meters will be progressively rolled-out to our customers in NSW, ACT, South Australia and Queensland.
Most homes and small businesses in Victoria already have smart meters. If you are a Victorian customer and want to find out more about smart meters, please go to our Victorian smart meter page.
Embracing technology for the future
Most homes and businesses around Australia still have electricity meters that use out-dated technology.
Under Power of Choice, these old-style meters will be replaced with new smart meters that are designed for the demands and connectivity of the modern world.
We’re now responsible for your smart meter installation
In the past, only distributors (the companies that own the poles and wires in your area) could provide meter services. Under Power of Choice, energy retailers will be able to arrange installation and service of your smart meter.
As a result, we’ve updated the Terms and Conditions of your electricity contract. These changes relate to how metering services are provided and how your electricity usage data is managed and used.
What does Power of Choice mean for me?
With a smart meter, you have access to lots of information via My Account to keep track of your energy usage – something that your traditional meter can’t provide.
A smart meter measures the amount of electricity used over short periods of time and can be read remotely. This means there’s no need for a person to visit your property to read the meter.
Through My Account, you’ll be able to view your usage, making it much easier for you to monitor and manage your electricity use. If you haven’t already signed up to My Account, go to energyaustralia.com.au/myaccount.
What’s smart about smart meters?
Smart meters with remote communications enabled offer many benefits, including:
- remote readings, removing the need for onsite meter reads
- remote connection and disconnection, making it easier and more efficient to move properties
- early detection of faults and supply issues
- through My Account, you can easily view, monitor and manage your electricity usage
- access to new technology to help you manage your electricity use, such as more efficient use of solar panels and battery storage.
Want to know more? Check out our FAQs below:
Power of Choice is a series of government-led industry wide reforms to the way the National Electricity Market operates, aimed at providing you with more opportunities to make informed choices about the way you use electricity products and services. Since 1 December 2017, EnergyAustralia has been able to arrange the installation of your smart meter, whereas in the past this was the responsibility of your distributor (the companies that own the poles and wires in your area). With greater choice comes greater flexibility, competition for products and services and benefits for customers.
Smart meters measure how much electricity is used at your premises and when. They send your usage information to us wirelessly, removing the need for onsite meter reads.
Smart meters can also do other things remotely, like allow the electricity supply to be remotely switched on and off. Smart meters can measure the power quality at your premises and notify us of any faults, including when your power goes out.
Most homes and businesses outside of Victoria have electricity meters that still use old technology. Under Power of Choice, these old-style meters will start to be replaced with new meters. The old meters will be phased out over time until smart meters are used uniformly around Australia.
In standard smart meter installations there is no installation charge. In some extraordinary circumstances, however, the installation of a new smart meter or replacement of an existing meter can trigger additional customer costs, either from the retailer or third parties (such as the customer’s electrician, tradespeople or others). In such circumstances, we will contact you prior to completing any work.
Such circumstances could include the following:
- Access to the meter is hindered by obstacles, locks or safety hazards that you cannot resolve without incurring costs
- The condition of your wiring or meter box requires works to be completed before a safe and compliant installation of a meter can occur
- The electrical demand at the property requires special metering equipment
- Mobile telecommunications signals that are otherwise available at your property do not reach metering room/location without extraordinary cabling and antennas
The Power of Choice reforms apply from 1 December 2017 and all customers with new homes will have a smart meter installed from this time. Simply contact us and we will arrange this for you.
- Make sure there’s clear and safe access to your electricity meter and switchboard which could be located inside or outside your home. (See below for the difference between a meter and a switchboard).
- If we are unable to access your meter and switchboard because of a locked gate, an unrestrained pet or because the meter and/or switchboard are inside, we will need you to be home at your scheduled reservation time.
- As a precaution, you may want to unplug sensitive electrical equipment such as computers and media players.
The installation will be carried out by a technician from the relevant Metering Services provider on behalf of EnergyAustralia. The meter installation will typically take about an hour and your power will be turned off for approximately 60 minutes during this process (unless your installation requires additional work). The technician will remove the current meter and replace it with a new one. The new meter will be tested and your power restored. The old meter will be taken away.
You don’t need to be home for the technician to install the smart meter unless there isn’t clear and safe access to your property, the meter and your switchboard.
A meter is used to measure how much electricity is being used at your property. There are many different types of meters that can be used to record and display your usage.
A switchboard is a panel inside or outside your home that contains a set of switches for connecting or disconnecting household circuits.
No, we don’t need permission from your landlord to install your new smart meter.
Once we’ve confirmed details of a smart meter installation at your property, a qualified electrical installer will attend your property to complete the installation. Sometimes during the process, an issue (commonly called a ‘site defect’) is discovered which prevents the installer from completing the job. This could include the discovery of onsite contaminants such as asbestos, electrical wiring issues or inability for the technician to safely access the meter. If this occurs, the meter installer will provide you with information outlining the site defect, why it prevented installation and who is responsible for rectification works. We will be in touch if there is a site defect to discuss the matter further with you and arrange another appointment.
All wiring issues associated with the circuitry in the home, the switchboard and the meter box are the responsibility of the homeowner.
All wiring issues associated with the circuitry in the home, the switchboard and the meter box are the responsibility of the homeowner. If a site defect has been discovered at your home, get in touch with your landlord or real estate agent and ask them to address the problem. We can guide you through this process.
Yes, we can still install a smart meter. However, the meter technician will need to test the strength of the telecommunications signal to your property. If the signal is too weak to deliver remote services (such as meter readings), the wireless communications signal may need to be disabled and alternative arrangements put in place. If this happens, we’ll discuss alternative arrangements with you.
All technicians will have an EnergyAustralia identification badge that they will clearly display and some technicians will also wear an EnergyAustralia shirt. You can ask to view their identification badge at any time.
While the technician will need to turn your power off for a short time to install the smart meter, most burglar alarms have a battery back-up and should not be affected. Please make sure that your alarm’s battery back-up is fully charged.
If you are on a market contract with EnergyAustralia, we may install a smart meter if the meter is not working as it should be, if you authorise us to replace the meter as part of a new meter deployment or if we are otherwise required to replace your meter by law. We will notify you before we carry out a meter replacement.
Additional charges may apply for smart meters without remote communications and some products and services may not be available.
No, meters are not the property of the customer. Your meter stays with the premises. For your safety it is important that you do not interfere with the meter.
Yes. Smart meters are manufactured and installed according to Australian Standards.
Smart meters are safe and all smart meters installed comply with the electromagnetic exposure limits developed by the Australian Radiation Protection and Nuclear Safety Agency. Smart meters have similar frequencies to those found in mobile and cordless phones, Wi-Fi routers and baby monitors.
For more information go to www.arpansa.gov.au/understanding-radiation/radiation-sources/more-radiation-sources/smart-meters
EnergyAustralia and other retailers are required to get in touch with customers if a disconnection due to debt may occur. Having a smart meter installed will not change your rights. If you’re experiencing financial difficulties and have trouble paying your electricity bill on time, it’s important you contact us as soon as possible. Our hardship program, EnergyAssist, is designed to help customers having trouble paying their energy bills. Visit our hardship page for more information on how we can help.
Smart meter data is secure and confidential. The collection, use and disclosure of meter data (whether from your current meter or a smart meter) is subject to strict protection arrangements and confidentiality rules. By law, meter data can only be accessed by customers, a technician from the relevant meter data provider, your energy retailer and others who are entitled to it (e.g. authorised bodies, distribution networks or third party service providers with your consent).
The Power of Choice reforms result in the following key changes to the Terms and Conditions of your contract with EnergyAustralia:
- We are now responsible for metering at your premises so you need to provide us and our representatives with safe and unhindered access for metering purposes. You will need to pay reasonable costs we incur as a result of your failure to allow such access
- You need to tell us about any changes to your premises that materially affect access to your meter
- We may need to interrupt your electricity supply to install, repair, maintain or replace your meter. If we do so, we will let you know at least 4 business days in advance
- We are permitted to arrange for disconnection of your electricity supply if you don’t provide us or our representatives with safe access to your property for metering purposes. We will send you the required warning notice(s) and give you a reasonable opportunity to fix any access issue before we take any steps to do this.
For our full Terms and Conditions go to https://www.energyaustralia.com.au/conditions-pricing
The Australian Energy Market Operator (Australia’s independent energy markets and power systems operator) and the Australian Energy Market Commission (which sets the rules that govern the electricity and natural gas markets) both offer information on the Power of Choice review and its resulting rule changes on their websites:
- AEMC: http://www.aemc.gov.au/our-work/our-current-major-projects/power-choice
- AEMO: https://www.aemo.com.au/Electricity/National-Electricity-Market-NEM/Power-of-Choice
Each state government also has information available on Power of Choice:
- NSW: http://www.resourcesandenergy.nsw.gov.au/energy-consumers/energy-providers/smart-meters-in-nsw
- QLD: https://www.dews.qld.gov.au/electricity/saving/digital-meter
- SA: https://www.sa.gov.au/topics/energy-and-environment/meters-and-bills/smart-meters
- VIC: http://victorianenergysaver.vic.gov.au/bills-pricing-and-meters/smart-meters-and-how-they-work